I'll 'learn you' how to read and write...
My father was a school teacher for fifteen years. He used to
tell the story about the 'cross-eyed school teacher' - who couldn't
control his pupils. In the early 70's Barry Smith left the teaching profession
to teach Bbible prophecy -– which is just as well because I don't think he
would have handled the situations from the following reports very well at all.
The Daily Telegraph, 12 June 2002, "Bullied out of
When my husband and I - both mature teachers - arrived here
from New Zealand early in April, one of the issues dominating the newspapers was
the state of the education system. "Schools in crisis," proclaimed the
headlines. "Teachers leaving in droves."
I had been in my new job for less than a day before I
realised why; barely six weeks later we, too, decided to give up and join the
exodus. We are going home because we are not prepared to put up with the
behaviour and abuse to which we have both been subjected...
...By the end of the first week, I felt I was living in a
nightmare. Three weeks later, I was frequently being reduced to tears.
Until now, I had always found classroom discipline
effortless. Yet here, it was a struggle to get, let alone hold, the pupils'
attention. Most didn't want to work; many could not read properly; and nearly
all of them found everything "boring"...
In six weeks, I had more abuse hurled at me than I had
encountered in 25 years back home. I was called a "bitch" and a
"slag" and threatened with being "knocked out". Why? Because
I expected the children to stay in their seats and not to talk or make other
noises while I was trying to teach. They showed no respect for authority, no
respect for adults - not even basic good manners...
In my first week, a 13-year-old with the face of an angel and
a mind like a sewer told me her mother could not make her do anything, so what
chance did I think I had?...
Mike, too, arrived home after his first day in a state of
shock. His pupils had no more manners, no better learning habits and were no
better behaved than mine from the council estate. His merely added arrogance to
These two schools, I know, are far from the worst. When,
shortly after the start of term, I told another new member of staff how appalled
I was, he stared at me in amazement. "Compared to where I was teaching last
term, this place is paradise," he said.
I have always had a great love for Britain and its cultural
heritage. Now I despair for it. I can see no hope for these children, and none
for a country that has the kind of education system we have experienced." End
When one considers that 'Values', which hold cultures
together, are passed on from generation to generation in three main ways 1.
Family 2. Church 3. Education -– we have a problem!
In the Western World all three areas are failing. By the way,
the decision to move away from values based training in schools was absolutely
deliberate back in the 70's!
Perhaps things will improve if we get the pupils to assess
their own teachers -– this is the latest initiative in Great Britain:
"Children as young as seven will be consulted about the
performance of their teachers under a plan to place schools under a legal duty
to consult pupils on all aspects of classroom life.
They will be asked their views on the curriculum, teachers'
ability, bullying and work experience.
There will be a national "baseline" of what
children think makes a good teacher or head teacher which can be used by
individual schools as a check list.
Education reports are to be made more "child
friendly" so that pupils can discuss them as part of the campaign to
involve children in drawing up policies affecting them.
The prospect has alarmed teachers who fear their attempts to
keep discipline will be undermined if pupils can grade them or change rules they
dislike...", reported in The Daily Telegraph, 24 June 2002.
The good news is that the teachers, who are going crazy for
whatever unknown reason, will be 'revitalised and rejuvenated' between
rounds -– all paid for by tax payers, before being thrust back out into
service for Queen and country.
"Teachers are to get their own 'lifestyle managers
- to be paid for by the taxpayer - who sort out household chores, book outings
and holidays and can even arrange moving home in an attempt to make life in the
classroom less stressful.
Previously the preserve of highly paid executives too busy to
attend to domestic tasks, the service will be designed to help harassed teaching
staff devote more time and concentration to pupils.
A phone call will put a teacher in touch with a
"lifestyle manager" who can find a babysitter, a builder or a
gardener, or even come up with ideas for Christmas presents.
The service will be provided at a number of schools in
central London in a pilot project later this year. If successful, it is expected
to become a common feature in teachers' employment contracts across the country..."
The Daily Telegraph, 23 June 2002.
Now isn't that a good idea -– lets empower the children to
harass their teachers, and then provide the teachers with support services to
help them carry out menial tasks which, due to stress they can no longer manage.
The same newspaper reported on the 20 June 2002, "Sack
for teachers who fail to spot pupils abused at home -–
...Ministers are to give Local Education Authorities new
powers that will make teachers legally responsible for the welfare of their
pupils, even if the harmful acts occur outside school hours...
An amendment to the Education Reform Bill, which is due to
pass into law within a month, will require all schools to put in place
arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Should teachers
fail to carry out their new duties, they can be disciplined or dismissed..."
Another concern 'in the wind' was reported on the 3 July
2002, "Children blow the whistle on 'boring' recorders -–
Pupils say they are fed up with learning the recorder at
school because it is childish, boring and "uncool".
The instrument, which is easy to master and cheap to buy, may
have been the staple of music lessons for decades, but children say it kills off
their interest in music...
...the Economic and Social Research Council... report found
that children's confidence in their musical abilities dropped significantly
following the transition to secondary school as they came to regard the recorder
as "not a real instrument". Some were so bored that they learned to
play it with their nose..."
Now who said that modern teenagers are not creative? That is
brilliant use of boring old nostrils.
28 July 2002, "Are handstands really a danger to
They have been favourite childhood pastimes for generations.
Now, handstands, games such as tag and even daisy chain making are vanishing
from Britain's playgrounds as safety-obsessed schools and councils declare them
"too dangerous" for today's children.
A report to be published by the Children's Society this week
will reveal a growing trend to ban such forms of play. It believes that such
excessive caution is harming - rather than protecting - youngsters, making them
over-reliant on adults, less confident and more fearful as they grow up...
Among cases cited is that of a London primary school that
stopped pupils making daisy chains because of fears that they might pick up
germs from the flowers.
Another school stopped pupils from making hanging baskets for
the same reason. Other primary school pupils were banned from doing handstands
after a girl injured her elbow, while teachers elsewhere halted tag because of
the risk that children might hurt themselves as they chased each other.
In some parks and playgrounds, the society says, children
have been prevented from playing in bushes, which have been deemed "too
dirty", or climbing trees, in case they fall. Some authorities have banned
playing with balls to prevent youngsters from throwing them onto nearby roads
and then running out into traffic.
The report says many councils have removed climbing
equipment, banned bicycles and stopped children playing with water. One school
outlawed yo-yos, fearing they might cause accidents...
Although concern over possible litigation is often given as a
reason for restrictions, the report says legal action is not common and that the
danger of schools or councils being sued is exaggerated..."
From extreme to extreme -– 29 July 2002, "'Teachers
taped shut naughty boy's mouth' -–
A head teacher and her deputy have been suspended after
claims that they taped a 10-year-old boy's mouth shut after he was disruptive on
a school trip to Wales...
When the boy started swearing and misbehaving, it is
understood that the teachers took the unusual course of taping over his mouth..."
Sounds like a great plan to me. Meanwhile the French have
just about had enough of this game and are on the rebound. They want to 'try
to restore some semblance of purpose and order' in their schools:
The Dominion Post, 7 August 2002, "Cheeky students
face jail -–
French schoolchildren can be sent to jail for up to six
months for insulting their teachers, according to a new law.
The law, approved as part of an attempt to curb juvenile
offences and unruly behaviour, sparked a fierce controversy yesterday. Some head
teachers welcomed the law as a tool in the fight against classroom violence, but
teachers' unions denounced it as "bizarre and worrying"....
Under the law approved by the National Assembly, the State
Prosecution Service can begin proceedings against children who "attack the
dignity or respect due" to their teachers - or police and fire officers, and
railway guards. The maximum penalty is six months' jail and a fine of 7500
Though prosecutors can and do step in when teachers are
physically attacked by their pupils, they have been unable to take action with
regard to verbal violence.
President Jacques Chirac has denounced what he called the "culture
of impunity" that has developed among youth rarely punished for incivility. By
the time the criminal justice system stepped in, youths had often committed
serious crimes, he said. The number of youngsters under 18 involved in crime
rose by 79 per cent between 1992 and last year. The new law was designed to turn
back the tide..."
I do not know if it's possible to turn back the tide -–
but now that we have created such a ridiculous fiasco, we have no choice but 'to
try'. In New Zealand, we are following in the 'pathetic pretend educational
footsteps' of our mother country England -– and we continue to question why
so many of our 15-20 year olds are ending up in prison...